Wall Street stocks marked a gloomy end to 2022 on Friday, slumping to close lower in their worst annual showing in years.
Surging inflation and steep interest rate hikes to cool demand have battered markets and investor sentiment this year, on top of global shocks like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The last trading day of the year just confirmed what we had all year, a horrible stock market,” said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities.
Key US indices saw their poorest performances since 2008, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both seeing double-digit drops over the past year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.2 percent to 33,147.25, while the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent to 3,839.50.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.1 percent to 10,466.48 after bigger losses earlier in the day.
A year-end rally “looks to have eluded us this year” given the shocks of 2022 and vast uncertainty ahead, said Craig Erlam of the OANDA trading platform.
While analysts expect the worst of Federal Reserve rate hikes to be over, some caution that the coming months will remain tough.
“The possibilities of any strong rally in the first quarter is probably very limited,” said Cardillo.
With the Fed resolved to staying the course in battling persistent inflation, investors continue grappling with fears of a downturn.
“So much now hangs on the economic data and how companies plan to adapt to a potentially impending recession,” said Erlam.
Heading into the new year, investors will be keeping their eyes on key jobs data due in early January.